To Make A Livin’: Our Review of ‘The End of Wonderland’

Posted in Movies, Theatrical by - March 26, 2023
To Make A Livin’: Our Review of ‘The End of Wonderland’

Movies have this magical way of making long processes feel short. A woman from ‘Wonderland’, Massachusetts appears on Saratoga Springs, New York, the place hosting, of all things, an exhibition of vintage French cars. The process of fixing up those cars feel shorter because they happen off screen. Tara Emory knows cars. A Renaissance woman, she has other passions that juggle in and out of her life. She had a phase where she did comic books. It’s an industry that may have been hostile to her as a transwoman. Her remaining passions manifest in Wonderland. The place is both a scrapyard of cars she wants to fix and a studio where she shoots pornography both in photograph and video form. She’s trying to finish her video porn opus before her landlord kicks her out of Wonderland.

Laurence Turcotte-Fraser’s The End of Wonderland, then, is about the work one must do to get the chance to work on the things one prefers to do. The photoshoots are Ms. Emory’s main source of income, and the movie shows her continuously editing photos or building and striking sets for her photoshoots. It takes a lot of luck to get 20 likes on a sexy selfie and more than that to make a living out of those selfies. Ms. Emory makes for an inherently relatable subject in this economy as someone who has to monetize themselves. Every person has an asset within them that they can make a few dollars on. The movie captures that without reducing Ms. Emory to stereotypes. Sex work is her choice but the movie also shows her awareness of how fickle the business is.

The only flaw I see in Wonderland is that it doesn’t grapple with the intellectual side of Ms. Emory’s work. Her opus, still unreleased the last time I checked, is a Barbarella knockoff with actual sex scenes. There’s potential for a great conversation here about futurism involving transwomen, two spirit, and other queer communities. It can also connect those themes with her workaholic spirit, which it touches on for the most part but not to its fullest. As a write this though, it’s great to see a documentary about an workaholic artists without a frantic pace. If anything, the first ramp is a slow uphill ride that gets smoother as it goes along. After all, Ms. Emory has a long way to go, just like anyone with a dream.

The End of Wonderland is available on demand.

  • Release Date: 3/28/2023
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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watches movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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